As a personal trainer I love to work with people that have a desire to lose weight. This particular health goal is close to my heart because I have my own weight loss story.
On my journey as I shared and continued to progress I learned about healthy eating habits, exercise habits, and healthy mental/emotional practices.
Imagine coming home after a stressful day at work. You ate great for breakfast and great for lunch, you talked yourself out of getting a snack from the vending machine even though you were “starving”. Now you’ve walked to the kitchen on autopilot after sitting in rush hour traffic and find yourself standing in front of the pantry on the 12th tortilla chip with your hand in the bag. How did this happen?
We often know what to do to lead a healthy lifestyle, but forming new habits can be a real pain. I’ve found that having a few quick rules to eating can easily help me to remember my commitments and prevent me from ruining my hard work of eating right and working out. Below please find my rules for healthy eating habits:
You Are Not a Trash Can
This is for all the mother’s out there who finish their kids plates, for the people who need a quick meal so they pass through the drive thru, the “it was on sale so I had to get it” people– you know who you are. Eating serves a purpose and provides you with nutrients.
Do not feel obligated to finish your plate or someone else’s. You can always save it for later. If you need something quick there are healthier options available or you can prepare ahead by making and bringing a lunch or keeping a snack item in the car.
Don’t fall prey to the donuts that are only 50 cents each or the cookies that are 2 for $1 that only provide you with sugar. Pick an affordable healthy snack that will help fill you up. A great option is to pair fiber heavy items with a protein like carrots and hummus or peanut butter and celery.
We Do Not Eat Our Feelings
Emotional eating is a difficult challenge to overcome and there are many in depth books on the topic. In short it is good to identify your feelings and ask yourself, “Am I craving this food because: it’s good for me, I am hungry, I need it, or is it only because I feel sad, lonely, bored”, etc.
Break the habit by taking control. Revel in the power of NO. You have the power and control to decide what you are going to eat and when. Taking control and recognizing you are in control can be extremely gratifying and give feelings of self satisfaction instead of the negative emotions felt previously. If you are craving comfort food you can identify healthier options and continue to exercise portion control.
Some of my favorite healthy comfort foods are: Chocolate covered raisins, Chocolate meal replacement or protein shakes (sometimes I make them thick like soft serve ice cream or add fruits for extra sweetness.), Protein pancakes, Spaghetti and meatballs using Spaghetti Squash or Zucchini noodles, etc.
It’s Not Worth It
Reflect on all the time, sweat, and effort put into your workouts. Think back to all the effort put into prepping your meals, buying the right ingredients, and cooking in advance. With that fresh in your mind ask yourself if the cookie or other “treat” you are craving is really worth it.
You know how hard it was to burn 200 calories on that treadmill, is it worth putting those calories right back on in 10 seconds? It isn’t. In seconds your hard work could be down the drain putting you right back at square one. It’s not worth it. It isn’t a “treat” if it keeps you from being your best. YOU are worth more than IT.
With these rules in mind you can stay on track and continue to work towards your health and fitness goals. Remember it’s called a journey for a reason. No matter what you do there will be good days and bad days, you may get a little lost on the journey or turned around the wrong way, but you find a way to press forward and eventually arrive at your destination.
Focus on being the best you can be, recognize your humanity- this journey won’t be perfect, and fight for your goals.